Josh Donaldson’s tenure with the Blue Jays had an unceremonious ending. In an injury plagued 2018 season he found himself traded to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later. After only 16 games in Cleveland he became a free agent. Unable to attain a multi-year deal, he signed a one-year pact with the Atlanta Braves. This “prove-it” deal yielded an elite season from Donaldson as he produced a 126 OPS+ over 155 games with the Braves. This re-surfacing from Donaldson then propelled him to sign a multi-year deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Donaldson’s been a Twin for two full seasons now, putting up a 128 OPS+ so far. He certainly doesn’t get the hype he once had during his time as a Jay, but he remains an elite third-baseman. In addition to these solid on paper numbers from the last two seasons, his peripherals courtesy of Baseball Savant paint a pretty picture. For some reason the media doesn’t want to tell you that Donaldson has an outstanding ability to consistently make hard contact with the ball, even in his mid 30’s. He ranks in the 99th percentile in average exit velocity, 95th percentile in hard hit %, and 95th in barrel%. All this while also getting on base at an elite rate. He is in the 94th percentile in BB rate, which gave him a .352 OBP% last year opposed to his .247 batting average.
In summation, Josh Donaldson remains an elite player, despite not getting an overwhelming amount of attention. It’s all Ohtani this and Tatis that, meanwhile there’s a lumbering, former MVP still producing up in Minnesota. Donaldson still shows love for Toronto. His jersey swap with Vlad this season could bring a tear to your eye, and his attendance at a Maple Leafs game earlier this month was very cool to see.
This trade is essentially full circle. The package the Athletics received for Donaldson are all no longer in that organization. I wish Donaldson nothing but health and continued success, and appreciated all the memories he provided. Thank you to the Blue Jays for the birthday gift that I never expected.